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Old 05-03-2013, 12:13   #1
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Beaufort, NC to St. Lucie inlet, FL

I want to sail my Flicka from the Delaware Bay to Lake Okeechobee this year. I plan to go outside from NC to St. Lucie Inlet and am wondering how close to the coast I must stay to avoid the Gulf Stream? I know that further south in Florida, say from Palm Beach, the Stream can be just off the beach but how about further north? Thanks
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Old 05-03-2013, 12:30   #2
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Re: Beaufort, NC to St. Lucie inlet, FL

There's no single answer to your question, the stream varies in it's distance from shore (as well as it's speed at any distance from shore) seasonally and randomly. You are right that it is nearest to the shore in FL, but officially (the western wall) not less than three miles near Jupiter Inlet, and the NWS stated average for St Lucie is 13nm. For most of your trip, a lot more than that (>25nm). The eddies can also be a strong positive influence, but you can't count on them.

Bottom line: I would stay inside of 7-8 miles and not worry about it. pete
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Old 05-03-2013, 12:34   #3
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Re: Beaufort, NC to St. Lucie inlet, FL

First of all, that will be a long slog into the wind on a short boat, and please check out the latest on St. Lucie inlet, which is not good without local knowledge. Don't try to get in there in bad weather. You can't take a straight shot because you would be fighting the stream. The route is a curve to the west, paralleling the coast at various distances. The first hurdle is Frying Pan Shoals where you will encounter some adverse current as you round it, unless you dare cut inside through one of the channels. From there, you can pretty much go straight to Jacksonville entrance buoy, and then it pays to stay fairly close to the coast, of course avoiding things like the shoals off Cape Canaveral. Here you go.
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Old 05-03-2013, 13:45   #4
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Re: Beaufort, NC to St. Lucie inlet, FL

I'm headed in the opposite direction next month from St. augustine. I think what I read, Kettlewell, is that it can be a straight shot from Jacksonville to a point east of Frying Pan Shoals? It looks that way on the map, but just making sure! Thanks!
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Old 05-03-2013, 13:47   #5
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Re: Beaufort, NC to St. Lucie inlet, FL

BTW, I didn't mean to imply that you could ignore hazards (like shoals) by staying inside 7-8 miles!!!
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Old 05-03-2013, 13:53   #6
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Re: Beaufort, NC to St. Lucie inlet, FL

I think a straight shot from Jacksonville to Frying Pan will just about skirt the west wall of the Gulf Stream, so going the other way you would want to loop in to the west a bit to make sure you stay out of the stream. It's about 406 nautical miles from St. Johns sea buoy to Beaufort. You can pass over the shallows to the west of Frying pan somewhat, if it isn't rough out.
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Old 05-03-2013, 14:00   #7
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Re: Beaufort, NC to St. Lucie inlet, FL

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please check out the latest on St. Lucie inlet, which is not good without local knowledge. Don't try to get in there in bad weather.
They dredged the St. Lucie inlet last year, but I agree that it's still best reserved for local traffic. The sensible mariner will just come in the Ft. Pierce inlet and motor the 10 miles or so down the intercoastal waterway to the St. Lucie river.
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Old 05-03-2013, 14:03   #8
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Re: Beaufort, NC to St. Lucie inlet, FL

+1 on Kettlewell's recommendation to treat the St. Lucie Inlet with respect and up-to-date knowledge. If you do not have that knowledge I would recommend using the Ft. Pierce Inlet and then take the short inside trip down the Indian River to St. Lucie. There are also several places to anchor within a short distance of the Ft. Pierce Inlet.

John
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Old 05-03-2013, 14:14   #9
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Re: Beaufort, NC to St. Lucie inlet, FL

There is a well marked channel through Frying Pan Shoal, South bound follow the coast, the stream is well offshore until you get to Canaveral. Once you pass the Cape you will want to stay inside of 3nm. to stay out of the stream's influence, there is often a counter current that helps a little. Use the Waterway Guide and Active Captain for info on various inlets and believe what they say.
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Old 05-03-2013, 14:26   #10
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Re: Beaufort, NC to St. Lucie inlet, FL

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+1 on Kettlewell's recommendation to treat the St. Lucie Inlet with respect and up-to-date knowledge. If you do not have that knowledge I would recommend using the Ft. Pierce Inlet and then take the short inside trip down the Indian River to St. Lucie. There are also several places to anchor within a short distance of the Ft. Pierce Inlet.

John
I keep my boat at the St Lucie inlet and you are well advised to come in at Ft. Pierce and then motor down the ditch. Come into to the Ft. Pierce inlet, hang a left at the intercoastal, go under the bridge at A1A south, hange an immediate left, drop the anchor and rest. Dingy straight across the intercoastal to Down Town Ft. Pierce and there are several great places to eat within walking distance.
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Old 05-03-2013, 14:40   #11
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Re: Beaufort, NC to St. Lucie inlet, FL

Great info! Thanks!
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Old 05-03-2013, 15:13   #12
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Re: Beaufort, NC to St. Lucie inlet, FL

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Great info! Thanks!
good advice about Saint Lucie Inlet... however, if you are competent enough to sail from Beaufort North Carolina, down to South Florida, on the outside, past Cape Canaveral and it Shoals, I think you are more than competent enough to get into Saint Lucie Inlet. after all, you're in a 20 foot boat that only draws 3 feet. an ideal entrance would be daylight of course, about 2 hours before high tide. the current will be slowing, and the water will still be rising, that way if you get hung up in the sand, you can just jump off your boat and push yourself off.or you could just follow a local in. plenty of recreational boat traffic. I would much rather spend the night in Stuart than Fort Pierce.
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Old 11-03-2013, 19:11   #13
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Re: Beaufort, NC to St. Lucie inlet, FL

Consider crossing to Masonboro from Beaufort, then catch the falling tide out the Cape Fear. If you do the First crossing at night (Cape Lookout is a great place to put out to sea at dark), then you will make Masonboro at daylight and have the day to get down to Cape Fear and put out to sea again. Bald Head Island Marina is a good place to tank up or make any final preps, then it is a straight shot to Ft Pierce or St lucie. This is a good approach because you can avoid Frying Pan in marginal weather, and, it is pretty much a direct rhumb line.

The way back home is a sweet ride, with great fishing. Just huck it way out there and make a straight shot. That Flicka will be screamin' at 8+ knots.
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Old 11-03-2013, 19:19   #14
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Re: Beaufort, NC to St. Lucie inlet, FL

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Consider crossing to Masonboro from Beaufort, then catch the falling tide out the Cape Fear. If you do the First crossing at night (Cape Lookout is a great place to put out to sea at dark), then you will make Masonboro at daylight and have the day to get down to Cape Fear and put out to sea again.
Words of wisdom. Good plan.
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